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How Does Marriage Affect Physical and Psychological Health? A Survey of the Longitudinal Evidence

  • Wilson, Chris M

    (University of East Anglia)

  • Oswald, Andrew J

    (University of Warwick and Harvard University)

This paper examines an accumulating modern literature on the health benefits of relationships like marriage. Although much remains to be understood about the physiological channels, we draw the judgment, after looking across many journals and disciplines, that there is persuasive longitudinal evidence for such effects. The size of the health gain from marriage is remarkable. It may be as large as the benefit from giving up smoking.

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File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2008/twerp728.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 728.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:728
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Web page: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/

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  1. Andrew E. Clark & Ed Diener & Yannis Georgellis & Richard E. Lucas, 2007. "Lags and leads in life satisfaction: a test of the baseline hypothesis," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19656, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Umberson, Debra, 1992. "Gender, marital status and the social control of health behavior," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 907-917, April.
  3. Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew, 2004. "How is mortality affected by money, marriage, and stress?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 1181-1207, November.
  4. Costa Dora L., 1993. "Height, Weight, Wartime Stress, and Older Age Mortality: Evidence from the Union Army Records," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 424-449, October.
  5. Ren, Xinhua Steve, 1997. "Marital status and quality of relationships: The impact on health perception," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 241-249, January.
  6. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
  7. Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert J. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 615, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  8. Lillard, L.A. & Waite, L.J., 1993. "'Til Death Do Us Part: Marital Disruption and Mortality," Papers 93-10, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
  9. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2004. "Money, Sex and Happiness: An Empirical Study," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(3), pages 393-415, October.
  10. Stutzer, Alois & Frey, Bruno S., 2006. "Does marriage make people happy, or do happy people get married?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 326-347, April.
  11. Linda J. Waite & Evelyn L. Lehrer, 2003. "The Benefits from Marriage and Religion in the United States: A Comparative Analysis," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 29(2), pages 255-275.
  12. Sobal, Jeffery & Rauschenbach, Barbara & Frongillo, Edward A., 2003. "Marital status changes and body weight changes: a US longitudinal analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(7), pages 1543-1555, April.
  13. Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew J., 2005. "Do Divorcing Couples Become Happier By Breaking Up?," IZA Discussion Papers 1788, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Chun, Hyunbae & Lee, Injae, 2001. "Why Do Married Men Earn More: Productivity or Marriage Selection?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 307-19, April.
  15. Reed, W Robert & Harford, Kathleen, 1989. "The Marriage Premium and Compensating Wage Differentials," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 237-65.
  16. Cem Mete, 2005. "Predictors of elderly mortality:health status, socioeconomic characteristics and social determinants of health," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(2), pages 135-148.
  17. Eng Seng Loh, 1996. "Productivity Differences and the Marriage Wage Premium for White Males," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(3), pages 566-589.
  18. Lee Lillard & Constantijn Panis, 1996. "Marital status and mortality: The role of health," Demography, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 313-327, August.
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